- Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura
Agartala, 23rd August 2022: Minister of State (MoS) for Trade and Industry – Som Prakash on Tuesday chaired a review meeting on the North East Industrial Development Program (NE-IDS) and the state tea industry at State Guest House here in Agartala city.
Addressing the meeting, MoS Som Prakash said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East policy emphasizes the comprehensive development of northeastern states. To improve the financial situation of this region, an environment conducive to the establishment of small industries should be created.
During the first phase of the meeting, the Secretary for Industries and Commerce of Tripura, Abhishek Chandra discussed the NE-IDS project in detail. He insisted on simplifying and promoting the communication system with Bangladesh and Myanmar to boost the state’s tourism and export trade. Also, industries like rubber, incense stick, agar etc. were discussed at the meeting.
In the second phase of the review meeting, an in-depth discussion took place on the state’s tea industry. The meeting focused on establishing an auction center in the state itself to sell tea. As a result, small tea producers from states like Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, etc. will also benefit.
During the meeting, Arunima Phukan Yadav, head of the Tea Board of India, said that it is possible to hold a meeting in this regard in early September. In this case, Secretary Abhishek Chandra said that all kinds of assistance will be provided by the state government to set up this auction center. Also, it was discussed at the meeting whether the issue of tea plantation can be re-incorporated through the MGNREGA. As a result, small tea producers will benefit the most. In addition, issues such as the sufficient amount of fertilizers, medicines and the uninterrupted supply of gas necessary for tea cultivation are also discussed.
He was also informed during the meeting that if it is possible to export tea from the North Eastern region including Tripura to Bangladesh, the tea industry here will benefit a lot. In this spirit, the meeting participants requested that the governments of India and Bangladesh jointly discuss this matter.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of various organizations associated with the tea industry, including the Chairman of Tripura Tea Development Corporation Santosh Saha. Both meetings were attended by Department of Industries and Commerce Director Swapna Debnath, Additional Director Subhash Das and other department officials.
It should be noted that Tripura ranks sixth in the country for tea production. There are approximately 8,000,302 hectares of tea plantations in the state. Of these, 2,865 smallholder tea growers have tea gardens on 1,408 hectares of land. 8.81 million kg of tea was produced in the state in 2021. A total of 10,438 tea workers are employed in 52 tea gardens in the state.